The Relapsing Fever Spirochete of Panama

Evidence to Show That It is a Distinct Species

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  • Board of Health Laboratory, Panama Canal Zone

The July, 1921, number of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine contained an article entitled “Relapsing fever in Panama” by Bates, Dunn and St. John, in which it was shown by human experimentation that relapsing fever in Panama is transmitted by the human tick, Ornithodorus talaje. The same article contains tabulations of results obtained by inoculating white rats, white mice and monkeys, Macaccus rhesus, with the Panama relapsing fever spirochete; also a short account of its measurements and appearance in cultures. The data at that time was insufficient to determine the identity of the spirochete under study. Since then the work presented in this paper, mostly in the form of tables, has been completed and is offered as evidence that the Panama strain of the relapsing fever spirochete is a distinct species of the relapsing fever spirochete, if these spirochetes may be divided into species.